View Full Version : IF and Low-Carb decreasing performance?

David Green
10-22-2009, 05:59 PM
I have been doing IF for a while (15-16 hr fasts almost everyday) along with eating mostly paleo at pretty low carb and for a while it was great but lately my performance seems to be decreasing.

my carbs the last few weeks have been mostly just vegetables with a little fruit except for on the weekends.

On the weekends sometimes I go a little crazy and binge eat (including not clean carbs but maybe not enough??) so during the week I really tighten up and maybe my calories go too low? I have tried upping my fat only but it hasn't seemed to bring back my performance.

I think my testosterone levels have dropped because I definitely have decreased sex-drive the last 2 months or so as well. could this be due to the low carbs? or just too few calories? I feel like overall i am getting enough calories throughout the week that calorie deficit shouldn't be the problem but I am kind of at a loss.

I'm wondering if I should start including some carb-up days with sweet potatoes and whatnot.

I was doing half a sweet potato post-workout for a while but i have recently gone back to no PWO nutrition. neither seemed to make a huge difference. Any advice would be appreciated.


oh and i follow the MEBB program pretty strictly sometimes switching what the ME exercises i do are and i do one day a week of sprints.

Garrett Smith
10-22-2009, 07:34 PM
If you are really lean already, you may not have enough fat.

One thing I look at first if recovery sucks is increasing my protein.

I don't think I've ever eaten just one sweet potato, much less a half of one. Sounds like you just plain need some more food.

Steven Low
10-22-2009, 08:45 PM
Take most of your carbs PWO if you're going to go low carb

Derek Weaver
10-23-2009, 12:38 AM
I'm going to throw a couple ideas in here as well.

Like Garrett said, you probably need more food. When you say you've been IF'ing and going low carb for "a while"... what does a while mean? 4 weeks? 12 weeks? 20 weeks? A time frame is best.

If your sex drive is dropping I'd hazard a guess that you're already really lean and could stand to put on a few pounds.

Darryl Shaw
10-23-2009, 05:49 AM
Not enough calories or carbs. Eat more of both.

David Green
10-23-2009, 08:07 AM
I'm going to throw a couple ideas in here as well.

Like Garrett said, you probably need more food. When you say you've been IF'ing and going low carb for "a while"... what does a while mean? 4 weeks? 12 weeks? 20 weeks? A time frame is best.

If your sex drive is dropping I'd hazard a guess that you're already really lean and could stand to put on a few pounds.

Thanks everyone. I'd say ive been doing lo carb and IF'ing for about 4 months? I've definitely gotten leaner but I don't think i'm too lean as i still have a good amount of stubborn fat but who knows. maybe that's not going away cause my metabolism is messed up from too low calories??

Liam Dougherty Springer
10-23-2009, 10:33 AM
If you have been on a simmilar routine for about four months it is time to shake it up. Throw in a few hypertrophy sets after your heavy lift on ME days in the same movement patern as the lift you did that day. Eat alot and try gaining weight for a little while give your metabolisim a reason to work. You are probrably just not experienceing results because you are used to the stress being presented. Oh and on your third day in each cycle try a moderate or heavy metcon workout never longer than 10 minutes the heavier the shorter. Just for a while shake it up and see what happens.

Mike ODonnell
10-23-2009, 11:19 AM
Take a few days off any lifting and eat low fat/higher carb centered mainly around sweet potatoes as your source (fat is low to keep calories in check...so you don't put on more weight in the process). Get the most bang for your effort eating all day long too in smaller meals for a slow carb load.

My guess is your muscle glycogen stores are tapped out......allow a bit of time off to fill up and you will explode out of the gate the next workout.

Derek Weaver
10-23-2009, 01:46 PM
I agree with Mike, but would take it one step further and suggest above maintenance cals for a little while.

Your hormones are likely out of whack.

Stubborn fat isn't necessarily about calories or being lean enough. One can have stubborn fat pockets but still have low body fat. They're two different things.

I'd also guess a bit of body dysmorphia (sp?). Not an insult, just a statement. We all have at least a little bit of it.

David Green
10-23-2009, 03:46 PM
Thanks everyone. I am going to try to carb up and eat more calories this week. Definitely a little dysmorphia. i'll let you all know what happens.

Derek Weaver
10-25-2009, 01:34 AM
I'd take a few days and overeat. then just eat freely for at least 2 weeks. After that assess how you look and feel. Preferably with before and after pictures or an outside opinion. The mirror can exacerbate the dysmorphia issue more than the other two options.

From chronic overeating like that it's going to take a while for your body chemistry to get un-screwed if that's indeed what's going on.

Craig Van De Walker
10-27-2009, 06:25 AM
From my personal experience. I do not do well with IF and low carbs when my bodyweight / BF is too low. My guess is that I may have been spiking my cortisol levels. I actually had issues with high blood sugar which believe it or not corrected when I ate more food and more carbs. I was very lean at the point where I had the most issues, I just realized that there is a point where I am not as healthy even though I am really lean. I had great strength especially pound for pound but my metabolic workouts had tanked.

This is the personal experience of one your mileage may differ.

I agree with Garret a post workout carb up is at least a pound of sweet potato. Small amounts (say 4-6 ounces each) during the day taken with five or six mixed meals would be a good carb up day IMO.

Derek Weaver
10-27-2009, 10:46 AM
Interesting observations. I've seen Lyle McDonald comment on those same effects several times regarding low bodyfat and insulin resistance stating that it's a good thing from a survival standpoint. Getting really lean (as in contest or near contest lean) can cause muscles to be come insulin resistant in order to spare glucose for the brain.

there's certainly a fair bit of circulating cortisol as well. Interesting post.

Mike ODonnell
10-28-2009, 09:16 AM
Workout frequency may be too high....as that is usually seen alot as well. Especially as you get older.....you time to recover takes longer.

I've found more optimal results (for energy and recovery) with one hard workout every 3-4 days....the rest is just play time to walk, hike, bike....whatever. As long as the workouts keep progressing you will make long term progress.

Recovery sometimes is more time based than eating more in a shorter base of time....unless you are like 18 and then you can probably get away with anything....but that will come to an end at some point (I learned that the hard way....burned out and injured).

Miranda Sierra
11-14-2009, 06:08 PM
i usually give in to one craving or another, and i usually don't think too much about it, and don't feel bad about it either.